STLV: Brannon Braga Misses Working On Star Trek + Talks Frankly About Voyager, Enterprise + More | TrekMovie.com
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STLV: Brannon Braga Misses Working On Star Trek + Talks Frankly About Voyager, Enterprise + More August 3, 2014

by Brian Drew , Filed under: Conventions/Events/Attractions,ENT,TNG,Trek on TV,VOY , trackback

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On Saturday veteran writer/producer Brannon Braga was set to appear with Manny Coto – his fellow executive producer from the last two seasons of Star Trek Enterprise – but Manny was stuck in traffic so Brannon went solo. He covered a lot of ground discussing his time with Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise. He also talked about how his recent Cosmos series had a little bit of Trek in it and how he now “misses” working on Star Trek. Details and photos below.

 

Braga On Cosmos/Trek + How He ‘Misses’ Working On Star Trek

Since Enterprise went off the air Braga has kept busy writing and producing for many TV series including Flash Forward, 24, and Salem.  And over the years when he has been asked about if he had a desire to return to Star Trek he always demurred, but it seems that his recent experience reviving the science show Cosmos has got him back in the mood for Trek.

Braga on Cosmos/Star Trek connection…

[Cosmos] is not so dissimilar to Star Trek. I did bring a lot of my Star Trek sensibilities to the show. The ‘Ship of the Imagination’ might as well be the Starship Enterprise. Both show are about humanity aspiring to explore the universe. Cosmos is about what we know now and Cosmos is about what we might know in the future.

Braga’s response to a question on if he would be interested in bringing Star Trek back to TV…

I miss Star Trek. I didn’t realize how badly I missed it. It’s such a great premise. You can do anything you can possibly imagine. It has such a great message. It has such a great feeling. I think one of the reasons I was so passionate about Cosmos and threw myself so deeply into it was because there was some part of me that missed that Star Trek feeling so I channeled some of that into Cosmos.

Braga went on to speculate about if and when Star Trek would return to TV…

Whether or not CBS or Paramount do another Star Trek show I have no idea. I surmise they probably wont do one until the movies have run their course is what the word on the street is. So they are going to do another movie. But I would love to see another show. I have no idea what it would be at that point.

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Below are more of Braga’s comments, sorted by series.

ENTERPRISE: Praise For Coto – Condemnation for UPN (and his finale choice)

Braga on why Star Trek: Enterprise struggled…

Star Trek was wearing out its welcome. Rick Berman didn’t want to make a show so soon but Paramount did. I think it was too soon for another show. It was a quality show, but the ratings weren’t really what they should be. And I don’t think the network – the new regime [at UPN] – I don’t think they treated the show with the tender loving care that it needed to thrive.

Later Braga went into more detail about the issues with UPN

We didn’t have network interference on Voyager or on Next Generation -zero, nothing. At its best the network can be a partner and that was the case with Voyager. On Enterprise the studio was a partner and a good one, but then a new regime came in and I don’t think they understood Star Trek. You always want a show that is really successful or tanks horribly. When you are in the middle like [Enterprise] that is a terrible place and the powers that be start to try to tell you what to do to fix it.

He also praised the work of Manny Coto…

The other thing it was missing was new blood. I had been doing Star Trek for a long time at that point. It needed Manny Coto. I wish he had been there since season one. That fourth season should have been the first season. It was really what the show was always supposed to be and I didn’t until Manny came in and put his imprint on it.

Braga on the series finale of Enterprise ["These Are The Voyages"]…

The final episode of Enterprise was an idiotic move on my part. I thought it would be cool to do a valentine to all of Star Trek. To me there was something really post-modern about the idea of saying this was an episode of Next Generation you have never seen – where they go on the holodeck with their heroes aboard Enterprise. It sounded good in my head – what ended up airing was really bad and not successful completely. It should have been Enterprise’s finale – it was a misstep.

Asked what the actors thought of the finale, Braga replied…

The Enterprise actors? They hated it. It was the only time Scott Bakula got pissed off at me.

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VOYAGER: Why 7 of 9 was “Janeway’s Spock” (& should have died) + Why Kes had to go

Braga the character of Seven of Nine who was introduced in the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager

I personally felt [7 of 9] was an amazing character. I thought it really invigorated the show. It was controversial. I am sure there are people here who don’t like the character and others who like the character. To me, Janeway was always missing her Spock or her Data. To me 7 of 9 was that Star Treky character. The Doctor came close. I liked the Doctor Character. But 7 of 9 to me was like The Wild Child – I was inspired by that Truffaut movie about trying to tame someone who was raised by wolves or in this case someone raised by Borg.

Braga went on to say he felt that Seven should not have survived Voyager…

I always saw as a tragic character and it was my strong feeling – and I said this before – that she should have sacrificed herself in the final episode of Voyager. To me the final episode was missing a tragic component. The only episode of season seven that I wrote was called human error. It isn’t a very memorable episode to many, but it was to me. It is the one where 7 of 9 was experimenting with emotions on the holodeck and she is using Chakotay as a foil. But she realizes there is a piece of technology insider that if she begins to feel emotions it will kill her and it was incurable. To me that was setting up her realizing that she did not ever want to go back to the Borg and yet she could never fully be human and therefore she had no where to go and no one to be with. And I thought she should have somehow sacrificed herself to get the closest thing she had to a family home. I think it would have been amazing but I was shot down. I was not running the show at the time it was Ken Biller and Rick [Berman].

Bringing Seven on the show was also the point that the character of Kes left the show. A fan asked about what ever happened to Kes. Braga replied…

To my recollection it was a creative decision and it was failure of imagination on the writers’ part. We were running out of things to do with Kes. We had to make room in the budget for a new character in the cast so there was a pragmatic reason but it was primarily a creative decision.

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TNG: Finale was ‘best work’ on Trek + talks ‘Frame of Mind’ and ‘First Contact’

Braga on the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale “All Good Things”…

During the seventh season of TNG, Michael Piller wanted Braga to move to DS9, but Braga wanted to “see Next Generation through to the end and I am glad I did because Ron [Moore] and I wrote the final episode ["All Good Things"], which was probably our best work on that show.

On “Frame of Mind”…

In my career I was heavily influenced by Roman Polanski and other directors that tried to bend reality. I wanted to do something that. One of my favorite movies was Repulsion about a woman who is losing her mind. I wanted to try and do something like that on the show – something experimental….I could have done that with any character. I had the concept first, but  felt that Riker wasn’t getting enough great stuff to do and so this might be a great episode for him.

On “First Contact” (film)….

I had a saying when we were working on Star Trek: “fun to write – fun to watch.” Generally speaking if you are struggling to write something and it’s not making sense, then it is going to be kind of crappy on the screen. First Contact was blast to write, blast to make. We just knew it was going to be fun.

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Coming Soon – VOY and ENT actor panels + Pegg & Weller + more

Friday also featured panels with actors from Star Trek: Enterprise and Voyager who will give their side of the story to some of the above topics. Plus Simon Pegg, Peter Weller and more.

And then we will move on to the Sunday panels.  So stay tuned for those articles soon.

Comments

1. Captain Slow - August 3, 2014

Braga seems to have a bit of an obsession with killing off main characters at the end of each series. Generations killed Kirk, TATV killed Trip, and then he wanted to do the same thing with Seven. It reminds me of how Stargate always killed off the doctors.

2. Daniel - August 3, 2014

I loved the 7 of 9 character, but I agree with Brannon. Having her sacrifice herself to get Voyager home would have been really moving. “Human Error” set up such a tragic element to Seven, which was conveniently rectified in some lines of dialog in the finale. Knowing that Brannon was barely involved in the final season sheds light on that drastic course correction.

3. Paul - August 3, 2014

Low ratings of Enterprise might have something to do with the generally low quality of first season scripts. Really, next to the Broken Bow, even The Caretaker was a piece of art. I’m struggling to find any really memorable episode in the first season line-up. Very much like Voyager, it feels mostly like a bunch of refused ST:TNG scripts. No amount of “tender loving care” on the part of UPN could save that, because the material was low quality in the first place.

4. Eodeon - August 3, 2014

Well I think there was plenty of “tragic” in the Voyager finale even without Seven’s death. Or with it acutally, since she died prematurely according to the original timeline that admiral Janeway decided to “rectify”. Maybe there is some echo of Bragga’s original idea of Seven’s sacrifice in that.

But I don’t agree that she should have died. Her character had had that old Star Trek theme of discovering what it means to be human. It was about a constant progress and heading toward an impossible goal of understanding human condition, that old Star Trek notion. There are obstacles on that path, but no end to it.

So I don’t think it should have been “conluded” and especially not with a useless death. Like Captain Slow mentioned above, there has been enough meaningless deaths in Star Trek. Yes, both Kirk and Trip sacrificed for somebody, but there was no need for that sacrifice in any of those stories, nor was there any in the Voyager. They were just attempts to inject some emotion into stories that otherwise had only very little of it.

5. CmdrR - August 3, 2014

Trek definitely suffered from poor writing in its final two series. Yes, there were good moments, but the constant search for the next “weird thing in space” was just boring. Going forward, the focus must be on characters, with “weird” as wallpaper for the story we’re watching. It’s always about how things affect us (or characters who are our reps in the situation), not how they blow us up.

6. pilotfred - August 3, 2014

The other thing it was missing was new blood. I had been doing Star Trek for a long time at that point. It needed Manny Coto. I wish he had been there since season one. That fourth season should have been the first season. It was really what the show was always supposed to be and I didn’t until Manny came in and put his imprint on it.

OK now he is saying that, however, did he not say that the first season was going to be set on earth !!! so is he talking theme or just making shit up like a lot of his scripts

7. Smike - August 3, 2014

“The final episode of Enterprise was an idiotic move on my part.”

YES!!! Absolutely! I like to see he finally admits it! I’m inclined to forgive him though…

Braga wasn’t all bad… He was the Gaius Baltar of Star Trek, struggling to get things right but screwing up on so many occasions due to his shortsightedness…

I’m also glad he admits to Many Cotos contribution to the show. I wish he would have been there earlier… the show might have lasted the full seven season run…

8. Hat Rick - August 3, 2014

I hope that Brannon Braga doesn’t dwell overmuch on nostalgia, because I think that nostalgia can be an affliction as much as it is a pleasure. Much of the time we look upon the past as better than the present. There is safety in that, because we know much more about the past than we know of the present, let alone the future.

My overall opinion of Braga’s contributions to Trek aside, it’s much better that he use his affection for the franchise to lobby for a future TV series than simply celebrate the times he had while working for it.

9. CmdrR - August 3, 2014

Anyone know whether there will be another season of Cosmos or was it a one-off? I don’t see anything definite in the media.

As to the departure of Kes… I believe him when he says it was either Jeri or Jennifer and Jeri won… but, I think “we ran out of things for Kes to do” is a cop-out. You gave her idiotic super powers and never even dealt in a meaningful way with her impending mortality. “Before and After” does NOT count. DO NOT ever write another episode about a being who gives birth out the butt!! That was worse than “Threshold” by light years.

10. pilotfred - August 3, 2014

9 has a point in fact i don’t ever write another episode of star trek again or even a comic yeah i brought the Borg comic he did and yep it was rubbish,lesson learned yeah i don’t think so, manny got star trek and enterprise,i was never keen on a prequel however if that is what you are doing then do it manny got that, and on a smaller budget from what i recall,they borrowed a set from star trek:phase 2 because they could not afford to build it

11. Curious Cadet - August 3, 2014

What a maroon … He says the network was hands off on voyager, and look what hands off gave us! Like Enterprise fared any differently than Voyager WITH network interference? He’s still clueless. And 7 of 9 was his favorite character? Well no duh, do you suppose it has anything to do with the fact he was screwing her? Could killing her off have anything to do with her rejecting him after she used him and didn’t need him any more to further her career?

12. Merchant of Vulcan - August 3, 2014

Star Trek today is probably best served by having a new movie every two to three years (but no more than that). It is at its best as an action/adventure story, keeping the social commentary as a sidelight instead of the main focus of the story . Ask most teenagers and they are looking forward to the new Star Wars series and the new superhero movies, mostly for this reason. With a string of new yearly Star Wars movies in the pipeline Trek needs to become relevant to the younger crowd. By keeping the focus on telling a good story first, long story arcs with soap opera style plots can be avoided.

13. Harry Ballz - August 3, 2014

It always comes down to the writing, so here is how they should launch a new Star Trek TV series…

Work out the premise of the new show now, in very specific detail, hire the best writers to take their time in producing 24 BRILLIANT SCRIPTS. I mean every single one being of the quality of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” or “The Inner Light”. Polish each script until they’re perfect. Then, when production of the new show is ready to commence, the creators of the series won’t have to SCRAMBLE for a good script, fighting “the clock” like most episodic TV does. Tight time constraints lead to “Spock’s Brain” territory.

This way, the first season of the new Trek show would dazzle viewers and build a big audience. About half way through the first season they could duplicate the process with the writers starting on cranking out 24 brilliant scripts for Season 2. Factoring in the months during hiatus after Season 1 to work with as well, that would give them plenty of time. Once the show is a monstrous hit, simply repeat this strategy each and every year. You’d be looking at a 10 year run of legendary Star Trek stories.

Nah, I guess that makes too much sense! Hollywood would NEVER do that!

14. Smoking Robot - August 3, 2014

NG was mostly good, DS9 was pretty awful across the board, Voyager was a colossal lost opportunity and Enterprise was just bad.

Seriously, it’s not a good record.

15. pilotfred - August 3, 2014

12 i prefer a tv program as i feel this is the best format for star trek,yes the movie do have their place,i feel the 12 to 13 episode per season would work best,however instead of getting away from the on going story-line i would embrace even more look at bsg-Dexter and so on, i feel tv programs when they know where they are going(even to unknown space lol) have more good stories than bad

16. pilotfred - August 3, 2014

14 i love ds9 and i feel the last two season of enterprise was very good,where as voyager for me was bad from start to finish,well a few good episodes,next gen first two season where so bad

17. Alt-Spock - August 3, 2014

As far as the Kes character, her departure and replacement by Seven was OK, but I hated when they decided to bring her back as a villain like they did. Completely unnecessary.

18. Plum - August 3, 2014

Interesting comments. But, I gotta ask…

A. Voyager had no network interference? Weren’t they the ones who insisted on ‘just-another-TNG-ship-show’? Thus, why the two crews were so chummy so fast (second episode, in fact) and the ship took a beating and kept on ticking?

B. Enterprise had major, major flaws. Most noticeably, character flaws. And by that, I mean the characters. One example, Archer was played by Scott Bakula. It’s nearly impossible to make Scott Bakula unlikable, but this show managed it.

Now, Braga here has given us some fantastic Trek over the years. I don’t want to single him out, but ENT was fabulously bad (Yes, Manny gave it some zing, the Xindi thing was well done, I really mean the first and especially the second season… because you’ve had time to make it better dammit!) and I gotta think he isn’t telling the whole story. Certainly regarding the Network.

Yes, I’m THAT Plum. ;p

19. Mike Stivic - August 3, 2014

Didn’t Brannon Braga say elsewhere that Enterprise Season 1 was intended to be Earth-based, leading up to the launch of the ship? And at some point, I had heard that the show was going to be very heavily focused on the “birth of the Federation” rather than just be TNG on a smaller ship in a universe where we know less aliens.

20. Cygnus-X1 - August 3, 2014

11. Curious Cadet – August 3, 2014

I actually didn’t know anything about the Braga/Ryan thing until I Googled it after you mentioned it. I turned up a great interview of Jeri Ryan by Aisha Tyler where Ryan discusses the issues relating to Mulgrew and Braga: http://girlonguy.net/podcast/girl-on-guy-100-jeri-ryan/

The interview turns to the topic of Voyager around 38 minutes in.

21. Platitude - August 3, 2014

His frankness on Enterprise is very refreshing. You could really see towards the end of the series the potential it had.

22. Dr. Fridgehead - August 4, 2014

Hind sight is 20/20, Braga. You may miss Star Trek, but it could have done with out you and Rick, in my opinion. After TNG, you should have left after you ran out of ideas. Voyager and Enterprise should have been turned over to someone who had fresh ideas. Enterprise might still be on the air if it played out the way it was pitched in the promos. Instead, it was Voyager all over again with the names changed.
As for getting rid of Kes in favor of Seven? You should have done us all a favor and had Nelix die instead. No offense to Ethan Phillips.
If you really wanted a character from Voyager to sacrifice themselves in the final episode, get poor dumb Harry to do it. He dies all the time, anyway. No offense to Garret Wang. Write better characters. Give them real motivations and character arcs. B|

23. pilotfred - August 4, 2014

#22 i agree with you

24. ME!! - August 4, 2014

No. Fans were tired of Berman-Trek. With each successive series, they got worse (the only exception being the Behr run DS9). And if season 4 of Enterprise is an example of studio interference, then they needed it. Too little, too late. Same with the TNG films (with the exception of First Contact).

The problem with asking Braga, Berman of any of the rest of the producers is they’re biased, they believe their ideas were great & they’ll go to their graves believing that. They’re also wrong.

On a side note, Scott Bakula is a great guy, but I don’t believe he was right for the captain’s role or for Star Trek in general. The person who SHOULD have been cast is Stephen Macht, the man Roddenberry wanted for Picard.

25. James McFadden - August 4, 2014

I think that CBS should do a 5-season nuTrek Original Series show followed by a 5-season nuTrek show called Next Generation (which would be TNG, DS9 and VOY in one Abramsverse show). I don’t think we’ll see Trek returning to TV any earlier than Fall 2017. We’ll have to see how Paramount will do with Star Trek 3 in two years time.

26. CmdrR - August 4, 2014

13 – I agree with you that writing is key. I wouldn’t be greedy, though. If the producers think that aiming for 13 eps per year is more likely to yield great Trek, then that’s fine with me. GoT only gives us 10 per year and I wouldn’t sacrifice one gory killing or gratuitous booby-shot in order to push that to 11 eps. We are well past the stage where tv shows have to fill the entire calendar.
Make Trek an event!! It is a thriving brand. Use that! My personal fav would be doing it with 90 or 2-hour installments (with several stories running in each, maybe even a long arc over many of them)… maybe as few as six per year, but promote the hell out of ‘em and let the fans come running.

27. Harry Ballz - August 4, 2014

Yes, CmdrR, I like the idea of 6 two hour Star Trek TV movies every year.

Kind of like how they do 4 90 minute episodes of Sherlock each year now.

28. Curious Cadet - August 5, 2014

@22. Dr. Fridgehead,
“Hind sight is 20/20, Braga.”

Funny thing is, it was quite apparent at the time. I remember chatting with him at length at a cocktail party in the early 90s, and I was trying to talk about anything but TNG with him, but he kept going on and on about a scene he recently wrote with Troi, and her seductive eating of chocolate. And I knew right then, this guy just doesn’t get it.

29. Red Dead Ryan - August 5, 2014

Yes, I like the idea of six two-hour (without commercials) episode seasons. That way each show would be truly epic.

30. Keachick (Rose) - August 5, 2014

#9 – Who gave birth from their butt?

As far as Kes, an Occampa, was concerned – “She [Kes] explained to her [Captain Janeway] that the growth on her back was the sac where her child would grow. She revealed that she was going through the Elogium, a time of change, during which her body prepared for fertilization.” ie the Occampa embryo is carried on the Occampa’s woman’s until it is ready to be born.

One delivery position for a human female is to be on all fours and the baby will appear to come out of the woman’s bottom, but the baby does not and cannot!…sigh…/:

31. Keachick (Rose) - August 5, 2014

Her embryo/fetus is carried on her BACK…

32. Disinvited - August 6, 2014

#31. Keachick (Rose) – August 5, 2014

Unless, of course, the human pregnancy is ectopic in which case almost anything is possible.

33. Jerr - August 11, 2014

“Braga wasn’t all bad… He was the Gaius Baltar of Star Trek, struggling to get things right but screwing up on so many occasions due to his shortsightedness… ”
I got a great laugh out of that one

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